It's vs Its : The Apostrophe Dilemma Solved

Did you know that the correct usage of "it's" and "its" can sometimes cause confusion even among native English speakers? Well, don't worry! We're here to help you clear up this apostrophe dilemma once and for all.

Proper usage of "it's" and "its" is crucial for effective English communication. It may seem like a small detail, but it can make a significant difference in the meaning of your sentences. Understanding when to use "it's" as a contraction and when to use "its" as a possessive pronoun is essential for language proficiency.

In this article, we aim to provide you with clarity and guidance on the correct usage of "it's" versus "its". We'll explain their meanings and provide examples to help you grasp the concept easily. So, let's dive in and solve this apostrophe dilemma together!

Now that we have set the stage, let's move on to the following sections where we will delve into it's vs its meaning and it's vs its examples. Get ready to learn perfect sentence formation in English online!

What is the Meaning of "It's" and "Its"?

The apostrophe dilemma - it's a common confusion among English learners. It seems like such a small punctuation mark, but it can make a big difference in meaning. So, let's solve the mystery of it's vs its meaning once and for all!

1) "It's" is a contraction of "it is" or "it has."

"It's" is a contraction, which means it combines two words into one by replacing letters with an apostrophe. In the case of "it's," it can stand for either "it is" or "it has." This contraction is commonly used in spoken and written English to express these two meanings.

For example:

  • It's raining outside. (It is raining outside.)

  • It's been a long day. (It has been a long day.)

2) "Its" is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership.

On the other hand, we have "its." Unlike the possessive pronouns you may be familiar with, such as his, her, or their, "its" indicates possession without using an apostrophe-S ('s). It shows that something belongs to or is associated with something else.

For example:

  • The dog wagged its tail.

  • The company celebrated its anniversary.

Understanding the meaning and usage of "it's" and "its" will help you communicate more effectively in English. Keep practicing and soon you'll be able to use these terms with confidence!

Understanding When to Use It's and Its

The correct usage of "it's" and "its" can be a perplexing dilemma for many English learners. In this section, we will break it down for you and provide simple guidelines to help you differentiate between the two.


1. Expressing a state: When you want to describe a state or condition, use "it's". For example:

  • It's raining heavily outside.

  • It's cold in here.

2. Describing an action: When you want to talk about an action, use "it's". For example:

  • It's time for dinner.

  • It's getting late.

3. Contractions: In contractions, where two words are combined into one, use "it's". For example:

  • It's nice to see you.

  • It's been a long day.


"Its" indicates possession or belonging without using an apostrophe. Unlike most possessive pronouns which require an apostrophe ('s), "its" does not have one. Instead, it indicates possession or belonging through context. Use 'its' when referring to something that belongs to or is associated with something else.

  • The bird built its nest high up in the tree.

  • The company is known for its innovative products.

Now let’s take a look at a table comparing correct and incorrect usage of possessive pronouns:

Possessive Pronoun

Correct Usage

Incorrect Usage


It’s a beautiful day.

Its raining heavily.


The cat licked its paws.

The cat licked it's paws.

To reinforce your understanding, practice with online tests and exercises like this exercise from Clapingo also offers various resources for online sentence formation in English, where you can learn perfect sentence formation in English online.

Common Mistakes with Practical Examples Differentiating Between "It's" and "Its"

Let's explore some common mistakes made while distinguishing between "it's" and "its" and provide practical examples to help clarify the correct usage.

Mistake 1: Using "it's" as a possessive pronoun.

  • Incorrect sentence: The dog wagged it's tail excitedly.

  • Correction: The dog wagged its tail excitedly.

  • Rationale: In this case, the possessive pronoun "its" is used to indicate that the tail belongs to the dog. The contraction "it's," on the other hand, is a shortened form of "it is."

Mistake 2: Using "its" as a contraction.

  • Incorrect sentence: Its going to snow tomorrow.

  • Correction: It's going to snow tomorrow.

  • Rationale: Here, the contraction "it's" is used to mean "it is." The word should not be confused with the possessive pronoun "its," which indicates possession or relationship.

Mistake 3: Failing to use an apostrophe when needed.

  • Incorrect sentence: The bird spread its wings wide open.

  • Correction: The bird spread it's wings wide open.

  • Rationale: In this example, an apostrophe should be used in the contraction "it's." This shows that the bird is spreading its wings wide open.

Mistake 4: Confusing "it's" with "its" in a sentence.

  • Incorrect sentence: It's important to remember to bring its umbrella.

  • Correction: It's important to remember to bring your umbrella.

  • Rationale: In this sentence, the word "its" should be replaced with "your" to indicate possession. The contraction "it's" remains unchanged.

By understanding these common mistakes and their corrections, you can confidently navigate the usage of "it's" and "its." Remember, "it's" is a contraction meaning "it is," while "its" is a possessive pronoun denoting ownership or relationship. Practice using these words correctly, and you'll soon master the art of distinguishing between them.


Key Takeaways

Now that we've covered the ins and outs of "it's" vs "its", let's recap the key points to remember when using these terms.

"It's" is a contraction of "it is" or "it has," while "its" is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership or belonging. Remember that "it's" always requires an apostrophe, but "its" never does. To master the correct usage of "it's" vs. "its", it's essential to practice incorporating these terms into your everyday speech and writing.

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1. When do you use "it's" vs. "its"?

"It's" is a contraction of "it is" or "it has." Use this when you want to say something like, "It's a beautiful day," or "It's been a long time."

On the other hand, "its" is a possessive pronoun indicating ownership. Use this when referring to something that belongs to or is associated with an object or animal, such as, "The parrot spread its wings."

2. How do you use "its" in a sentence?

To use "its" correctly, remember that it shows possession or association without needing an apostrophe. Here are some examples:

  • The book lost its cover.

  • The tree shed its leaves.

3. What is the difference between "its" and "it is" in a sentence?

The key difference lies in their meanings and usage. "It's" is a contraction of either "it is" or "it has." For example:

  • It's raining outside. (contraction of it is)

  • It's been a great day. (contraction of it has)

- Conversely, when using just the pronoun form, we say:

  • Its colour is vibrant. (referring to the colour belonging to something)

4. Is it correct to say "It's me"?

Yes! Saying “It’s me” in casual situations like answering the phone or greeting someone at the door is grammatically correct. The contraction "It's" is commonly used as a shortcut for "It is" in informal contexts.

5. How do you remember "its" and "it's"?

Remembering the correct usage of "its" and "it's" can be challenging, but here are a few tips to help you:

- Create mental associations: Think of a dog wagging its tail; no apostrophe is needed.

- Practice: Write out sentences using both words correctly until it becomes second nature.

- Read aloud: When reading, pay attention to how the words are used in context, as this will reinforce their proper meaning.

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